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John Miano launched the Programmers Guild, an advocacy group, in 1998, concerned about foreign workers replacing programmers like himself. Miano earned a law degree in 2005 and is building a legal practice suing companies that violate H-1B rules by hiring foreign workers without considering U.S. job candidates.

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

February 2, 2007

2 Min Read


John Miano
Founder of the Programmers Guild
Interview by Marianne Kolbasuk McGee
Photograph by James Leynse

John Mian, Founder of the Programmers Guild

1


LAST STRAW
After 18 years of computer programming, Miano decided in 2002 to go to law school. It was testifying before Congress against raising H-1B quotas and being frustrated by tech- industry lobbyists that made him shift careers. "Five of the eight [witnesses] were lawyers," he says. "Unless we fight this issue legally, we'll lose."

2


TRADE-OFFS
Miano sold his Piper Dakota single-engine, four-seat plane to help pay for law school, but especially to avoid the aircraft's annual $15,000 maintenance costs while hitting the books. "Other law students got choked up when they heard about the plane--not because I sold it, but because they were racking up huge loans for their tuition."

3


JOB ADVICE
American programmers shouldn't just complain about their jobs disappearing. "Get a backbone and stand up," he tells IT professionals. "Don't train the H-1B replacements your employers bring in. Get up and walk out."

4


WHAT HE TELLS KIDS
If you want job security, "become a plumber or electrician. They're paid well and require skills you can't offshore."

5


PIANO MAN
Miano, 45, enjoys playing classical compositions on the ivories. "I'm a music snob," he admits. But he also thinks musical talent runs through techie veins. "I've never met a good programmer who doesn't play an instrument."

About the Author(s)

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

Senior Writer, InformationWeek

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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